How To Maintain Your Radiator

Maintaining your vehicle's radiator and cooling system is important for keeping your car in good working condition. A vehicle's engine produce a lot of excess heat, enough to quickly damage or destroy the engine if it is not properly cooled by the cooling system. There are a few things you can do yourself to make sure your vehicle's cooling system is in good working condition:

  • Always make sure that the coolant is topped up. If your coolant level is consistently low it can actually damage the radiator and cooling system. Having to top up the coolant more than a couple times per year means that you probably have a leak and should have your radiator professionally inspected. This is extremely important to your radiator parts maintenance and to keep it good and running.
  • Keep an eye on the engine temperature. If you notice the temperature raising more than it usually does, that probably means that your vehicle's radiator isn't performing at top efficiency and needs radiator parts maintenance.
  • Visually inspect the radiator and the cooling system. Look for corrosion or breaks in the radiator cores, find cracked hoses and rusted clamps, check the gasket on the radiator cap, and watch for drip stains underneath the car.

Just like going to the dentist for a check-up, you should regularly take your vehicles in for radiator maintenance. This should be done at least once every two years, especially if your vehicle is more than five years old. When you take your vehicle in for a radiator and coolant system check-up, they will do several tests to make sure it is in proper working condition:

  • A thermostat test to make sure that it regulates the coolant flow properly.
  • A pressure test on the system to make sure it does not leak under pressure.
  • A fan test to make sure that the engine fan and any other fans are working properly.
  • A pressure test on the radiator cap to ensure that it will release at the proper pressure.
  • The service station will also likely flush and refill your cooling system.

As long as you take care of your vehicle's cooling system by partaking in proper radiator parts maintenance, your vehicle's radiator will likely last as long as you own your car.


COOLANT: The cooling system is one of the most important elements in vehicle operation, yet is not given the attention that other automotive systems receive. There are many factors that can add to the strain of cooling your vehicle. For example, the air conditioning system. The air conditioning system most often places the condenser in front of the radiator. This restricts the airflow and cooling capability of the radiator. The coolant helps compensate for this added strain when mixed in a 50/50 solution with water in your cooling system. Many people only think about checking their coolant (also referred to as "antifreeze") when temperatures get very cold. It is the most obvious and easiest to maintain of all the cooling system components. Each vehicle is unique (refer to your vehicle owner's manual for specific guidelines), but typically industry guidelines recommend complete replacement of the coolant every two years or 24,000 miles. As coolant can be a great help in cooling efficiency when properly maintained, it can also be a great hindrance if left unchecked. The coolant's chemicals can break down over time (much like motor oil) and can actually contribute to corrosion rather than prevent it. Remember to always follow your manufacturer's recommendations and keep your coolant fresh.